In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock directed and produced “The Birds,” an extremely successful and scary movie. Much of the action took place on an island in Bodega Bay, a quaint, sleepy town on the Pacific Ocean. (Oddly enough, that used to perfectly describe Santa Monica.)

The story begins innocently enough until wealthy and attractive Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is inexplicably attacked by a seagull who swoops down on her, gashes her forehead and flies away. Soon, normally benign birds of all types attack townspeople with increasing ferocity, including pecking a chicken farmer to death. (A good argument for being vegan?)

Soon school children are swarmed and pecked and their teacher is killed. (If she was a sub for the day, talk about bad luck.) Panic quickly consumes the small town, causing residents to leave their homes and head for San Francisco. (As if birds didn’t know how to fly to San Francisco?)

Melanie’s love interest, lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) insists she stay with him. He boards up all entrances to his home and awaits the onslaught. The birds dive bomb the house, tear at shingles and gnaw at doors but are unable to get inside.

Seeking refuge, Melanie goes to the attic to hide, which is always a huge “no no” in horror movies. Sure enough she’s attacked by a roomful of crows who have made a hole in the roof. (A good argument for solar panels?)

For now I’ll save how the movie ends. That is, until I discuss Santa Monica’s apparent problem with Birds of another species.

I’m referring to Bird electric scooters, which not long ago, were an interesting curiosity in my neighborhood, Main Street. Like Hitchcock’s movie, however, suddenly Birds are everywhere, often lying on their sides cluttering sidewalks. Worse, at least to my eye, many are driven by teenagers without helmets, which is legal if they’re 18.

When a customer is done using his or her Bird, they just leave it, which may be convenient but is annoying. It’s not uncommon that pedestrians have to step over or around them. They look like metal corpses scattered on every corner.

Judging by their popularity, Birds must be of value to many residents. But, when I see them tipped over, it would seem a considerable number of Santa Monicans are tired of the craze.

Reminiscent of the movie, you could say of my journalist friend, Monica, that she was attacked by Birds. Or more specifically, by a 20-something female Bird driver. (Whom I wish could be prosecuted for assault, battery and being a jerk.)

Monica, was walking home after visiting me and in a celebratory mood having recently finished her latest non-fiction book. Maybe you have to be a writer and spend 6 months or 6 years writing every day so much that it dominates every waking and even sleeping hours. So, when you are finally finished and it’s off to the publisher, there is often a euphoric “free at last, free at last” feeling. That was Monica.

Only a block from her apartment, she saw barreling toward her, and on the sidewalk mind you, two ladies (misnomer given what they did) on Birds. Monica got out of the way but informed them sidewalk “Birding” was illegal. (She lives north of Ocean House, home to seniors, many who use walkers, so what could go wrong there?)

One dropped her Bird and shoved Monica to the concrete resulting in a bloody knee. As she struggled to get up she was knocked down again, yielding a bloody elbow.

To quote Monica, “I’m a writer, not a fighter,” but she tried to battle back but to no avail. Talk about hypocrisy, the second woman, referring to her friend, yelled, “Don’t hit her, she’s pregnant!” (You can’t make this stuff up, folks.)

Monica tried to take a photo of her assailant but her phone was knocked into the street. Meanwhile a woman in a car passing by shouted at the attacker who quickly got back on her Bird. Furious, Monica essentially wanted to “kill two birds with one phone.” (Sorry about that.) But by the time she retrieved her cell the two Birdies had disappeared.

As Monica called the police, they weren’t encouraging about an investigation. Though polite, they advised that Bird management wouldn’t cooperate without a court order. (Great PR move, Bird…not!)

As Hitchcock’s movie ends, we never know where the birds came from and if we may be the next victims. Successful as it was, a lot of money was made. Our Bird “crisis” appears remarkably similar, including, I suspect, a lot of money is being made.

At a minimum, however, Bird management should strenuously educate its customers in safety, manners and to stay off the damn sidewalks! Otherwise pedestrians may start carrying slingshots.

 

Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and jackdailypress@aol.com

 

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5 Comments

  1. Hopefully they find the attackers and they are prosecuted and convicted. The victim should also leave policing to the police or risk this happening again. Her attempt to “educate” the Bird riders on the municipal laws is a dangerous game unfortunately.

  2. Bird should help police identify who was renting the scooters at that location during the time of the altercation so they can be charged.

  3. Pretty good pun.

    tbf I’ve seen more pedestrians purposefully knocking over properly parked scooters (in what I assume is some sort of misplaced sense of protest) than I’ve seen riders locking their scooters and then tipping them over.

    No excuse for assault. Bird on pedestrian or otherwise

  4. There’s some IMPORTANT common lessons here
    1. Talk shi% – get hit
    2. Snitches get stitches
    3. Be aware of your surroundings
    4. Always carry PEPPER GEL SPRAY
    5. DONT BE A COP. YOU’RE NOT TRAINED OR ARMED.
    6. DONT mess with teenagers.
    They’re VERY Dangerous in numbers.
    7. If you see something then RECORD IT. DUH!!
    UNLESS YOU’RE DESPERATE for a NON-FICTION Story to tell your friends, Desperate for ATTENTION and want to make the most eco-friendly-economicly stimulating transportation technology look bad for your lack of common sense and self preservation.

  5. This is absolutely disgusting, your poor friend Monica. She must be traumatized from this attacking. Can she take this article to Bird management?

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